Unfussy Fare

Tuna & Avocado Salad with Wasabi-Lime Dressing


Sorry I’m late. My discipline went on vacation, then missed its train, then slept through the alarm, then called in sick. Can you believe it? Yeah, me neither. All that aside, I missed sharing recipes with you, kind readers. What better outlet for my glaring food-talk issue than this little blog? Where else can I recall last night’s dinner in excruciating detail without clearing the room? My friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues have suffered enough. So I’m back. Thanks for sticking with me.

I’ve got a recipe for you. I’m weary of wintery braises and stews. I want something fresh and bright to remind me of warmer days. This recipe deserves a drum roll, or maybe a symphonic theme song, heavy on the strings. It’s a favorite around here. Let me list some reasons that you should run right out and buy some tuna post-haste.

Reason #1: Jewel-like beauty. The deep pink tuna and serene green avocado recall a half-open peony, batting its riotous eyelashes with the promise of Spring.  

Reason #2:  Texture. Ooh, la la. Each bite offers a nuanced nudge to the tongue. It’s melting, soft, and smooth. Tuna and avocado are already plenty sultry on thier own. Put them together, and they’re practically too luscious for primetime.  Add some zing, crunch and kick (lime, shallots, and wasabi), and you’ve got a one-dish meal that satisfies every sense.  Which brings me to

Reason #3: Flavor. This is a dish where tastes unfurl in rich and subtle layers, each more satisfying than the last. The interplay is everything.  And last, but certainly not least

Reason #4: It’s quick.  What more can you ask for? Fifteen minutes, folks. Fifteen minutes to a bowl of blushing fulfillment. Can you beat that?

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s. I have four of Ina’s books, and I am here to tell you they are worth every penny of their hefty hardcover prices. You should all go out and buy one. You won’t be sorry. There. That’s my public service announcement. (And no, I don’t work for her publisher. I’ve never met her, despite the fact that I consider us on a first-name basis. I’ve never even seen her TV show, which is weird, right?)



2 pounds fresh tuna steaks, about an inch thick
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
zest of two limes, chopped fine
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
10 dashes Tabasco
2 large ripe avocados, large diced
1 shallot, sliced thinly
2 sliced green onions
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Brush room-temperature tuna steaks with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill (or sear in a hot sauté pan) for one and a half minutes on each side. Allow steaks to cool for a few minutes before chopping.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, pepper, lime zest, wasabi powder, lime juice, soy sauce and Tabasco.

Cut the tuna into chunks and place them in a large bowl. Add the shallots and dressing and mix gently. Add the avocado and mix gently again. Sprinkle each serving with green onion and sesame seeds.

13 Responses to “Tuna & Avocado Salad with Wasabi-Lime Dressing”

  1. Lisa Belt says:

    1. Geez. Finally.
    2. I’m so excited that avocado is spelled wrong! This might be the best post ever.
    3. The peony thing! Holy Cow!
    4. I bought Bamboo Smoked Sesame Seeds at our Local Overpriced Grocery Store. They’re amazing. They would kill on this, I bet.

  2. Pamela Perry says:

    1. I was so excited to see a little ’1′ next to unfussyfare.com in my RSS feeds.
    2. I love tuna, avocado, wasabi, shallots…
    3. I love that Lisa was first.
    4. The entire time I’m reading through the description I’m saying to myself “don’t be that person, no one likes that person, just because Gil’s always perfect, if you’re that person you better not ever make a mistake…”
    To your defense, I think you spelled it wrong 3 times and correct 4 times. That’s still a winner in my book.

    See Lisa, no one likes that kind of person. :)

  3. Gillian says:

    What’s really funny is that I actually asked myself several times as I typed “How do you spell avocado?” Apparently I had different answers for myself at different times. “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” I can’t remember who said that. And how do you spell hobgoblin, anyway?

    Going to fix my spelling now. Sigh.

  4. hungry dog says:

    Welcome back! This looks perfect…I agree with you–I’m over the braised/roasted meats and wintery stews for awhile. This looks speedy and delicious, two of my favorite qualities in a recipe.

  5. Gillian says:

    Thanks, Hungry. It is indeed speedy and delicious. I even ate some the next day for lunch. It wouldn’t have won any beauty contests on day two (the pink tuna turns a little gray from the lime juice, and the avocado gets kinda mushy). But it still tasted stellar.

  6. Kate says:

    I reely like toona to. I wood like to dig into this scrumpshus dish with a phork.

  7. Gillian says:

    Thanckyu, Kate. You are a troo bloo freind.

  8. Sherri says:

    I love this salad…agree with you on Ina’s books- 95% of the time her recipes are 9.5s or 10s!

    My ultimate, ultimate favorite is her tuna tartare…

  9. Pamela Perry says:

    Just because you spelled avocado wrong is no reason to take such a long hiatus. We miss you. Come back and cook for us.

  10. Gillian says:

    Sherri: Tuna tartare! Sounds incredible. I’ll make it ASAP.

    Pamela: Ach! I feel terrible about neglecting my blog. Life has been busy lately. But I have recipe for chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons all ready to go. Have pictures and everything. I just need to take a few minutes to write the thing! Thanks for missing the blog! I’ll get back to it one of these days soon…

  11. Kate says:

    Yeah really Gill! Apart from your job, your husband, your child, your dog, your in-laws and your house project, what *have* you been doing? You started this blog to have fun, not to feel terrible about it. If you want guilt then post a big chocolate cake recipe and we can all bake it, eat it and feel guilty together! Yeah!

  12. Pamela Perry says:

    Still missing you. I’m going to have to jump ship and check out fussyfare.com :)

  13. [...] quieres cocinar un plato delicioso y con estilo sin complicarte demasiado te recomiendo preparar una ensalada de at

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